Democratic U.S. Rep. Betsy Markey has cosponsored a bill that would establish regular auditing of the Federal Reserve— the nation’s bank, which presently, according to the bill’s sponsor, semi-Libertarian Texas Republican Rep. Ron Paul, is astonishingly free of oversight and lacks any real transparency. The Fed, Paul says, is tasked in part with propping up banks and it directs and distributes more money than you could spend many lifetimes counting. Yet it operates in the dark.
Paul’s “audit the Fed” bill is a darling of the Tea Party crowd, one of whom brought it up with Rep. Markey. The Teabaggers have not made life easy for Markey lately, rallying outside her offices at one point last week with signs bearing swastikas. Nevertheless, the fiscally moderate Democrat of the swing Fourth District listened. Then she decided to support the bill.
Fort Collins Coloradoan Editor Bob Moore blogs Markey’s comments:
“I had a couple of people from the Tea Party group contact me and just had some very thoughtful concerns, and I thought maybe I ought to take a second look at this bill, and I did and I talked to some people on the floor and I thought, well, I should actually cosponsor this…
“Every group, if you take the time to listen, there’s always going to be a pearl of wisdom in there somewhere.”
In making his case for the bill, Paul told his fellow lawmakers that it’s easy to rail against earmarks but earmarks are good. In setting an earmark, Congress is doing its job, specifically directing revenue and doing so on the record for public review.
[I]t is the responsibility of the Congress to earmark. That is our job. We are supposed to tell the people how we are spending the money, not to just deliver it in a lump sum to the executive branch and let them deal with it, and then it’s dealt with behind the scenes…
Just think of the $350 billion that we recently appropriated and gave to the Treasury Department. Now everybody’s running around and saying, Well, we don’t know where the money went. We just gave it to them in a lump sum. We should have earmarked everything. It should have been designated where the money is going.
So, instead of too many earmarks, we don’t have enough earmarks. Transparency is the only way we can get to the bottom of this. And if you make everything earmarked, it would be much better…
we neglect telling the Treasury how to spend TARP money, and then we complain about how they do it. But just think literally; the Treasury is miniscule compared to what the Federal Reserve does.
The Treasury gets hundreds of billions, which is huge, of course, and then we neglect to talk about the Federal Reserve, where they are creating money out of thin air, and supporting all their friends and taking care of certain banks and certain corporations. This, to me, has to be addressed.
I have introduced a bill, it’s called H.R. 1207, and this would remove the restriction on us to find out what the Federal Reserve is doing. Today, the Federal Reserve under the law is not required to tell us anything. So all my bill does is remove this restriction and say, Look, Federal Reserve, you have a lot of power. You have too much power. You’re spending a lot of money. You’re taking care of people that we have no idea what you’re doing. We, in the Congress, have a responsibility to know exactly what you’re doing.
The bill, HR 1207, has gained 282 co-sponsors.